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McAuliffe Loses Big on Felon Rights Case 

Court overturns his decision to restore rights to 206,000.

click to enlarge Gov. Terry McAuliffe

Scott Elmquist

Gov. Terry McAuliffe

Gov. Terry McAuliffe has suffered a crushing defeat, with the Virginia Supreme Court overturning his April decision to restore voting and other rights to 206,000 convicted felons who served their time.

In a ruling Friday, the court decided that McAuliffe overstepped his constitutional bounds because each convict’s case must be decided individually.

McAuliffe, a Democrat who has often done side passes to outflank the Republican General Assembly, took a big step in restoring rights to so many former criminals, many of whom served their time a decade ago.

The Washington Post reported today:

Never before have any of the prior 71 Virginia Governors issued a clemency order of any kind — including pardons, reprieves, commutations, and restoration orders — to a class of unnamed felons without regard for the nature of the crimes or any other individual circumstances relevant to the request,” Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons wrote for the majority. “To be sure, no Governor of this Commonwealth, until now, has even suggested that such a power exists.”
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